The Government has come through with their promise of helping working parents with their childcare costs with the introduction of Childcare Vouchers, which are be non-taxable and exempt from National Insurance up to a limit of £243 per month per working parent.
This means that in families where both parents are taxpayers there are potential savings of between £1,900 and £2,300 per annum. This will significantly benefit most families in the UK and vouchers will quickly become the recognised method to pay for all forms of registered childcare. Vouchers are flexible and are able to be used for childcare of the parent’s choice, whether that is a day nursery, childminder, playgroup, before & after school club or holiday scheme.
The overall benefits provided are wide ranging.
? Nurseries and other carers can make their care more affordable to parents.
? More money will be provided in the sector to increase salaries for carers.
? Working parents will save money on their childcare costs.
The new arrangements are part of the Government’s commitment to help working parents. The Paymaster General, Dawn Primarolo said: ‘Employers have a very important role to play in helping parents to balance work and family life and particularly in helping parents meet their childcare needs. We are committed to supporting them in this.’
It is pleasing to see the huge increase in support for working parents over the last 20 years. In the 1980s there was hardly any care available and even less choice in the type of care. Now there is a raft of targeted financial support including tax credits as well as vouchers and an ongoing commitment to diversity of care.
Tony Blair commented that ‘...we need to take the advances we have made in flexible working, in expanding childcare, and in nursery education and Sure Start, and make available comprehensive and flexible support to all parents of under-fives… This is not applying to everyone a standard State run nursery system, but providing parents with a real choice between the public, private and voluntary sectors, including nurseries, playgroups, expanded provision in primary schools, children’s centres and childminders.’